Edinburgh - Scotland wings Sean Lamont and Tim Visser each plundered two
tries as Vern Cotter's side coasted to a record 48-7 win over Italy at
Murrayfield on Saturday in their only warm up match on home soil before the
start of next month's Rugby World Cup in England.
The rout surpassed both the points score and margin of victory Scotland
achieved in a 47-15 home win over Italy in a warm-up match prior to the 2003
Flanker John Barclay, starting his first international for two years, and
centre Mark Bennett also crossed the Italian try-line for the Scots, who
followed up their 16-12 win against a shadow Italian side in Turin last week
with a highly impressive step-up in performance.
The 43,831 crowd, a record for a World Cup warm-up match at Murrayfield, saw
the home side take control from the start, captain Greig Laidlaw getting the
scoreboard ticking with a fifth-minute penalty that followed a series of scrum
infringements by the visitors.
Four minutes later, Scotland fly-half Finn Russell chipped a neat kick into
the right corner and Lamont plucked the ball out of the air to score his 13th
Laidlaw's conversion made it 10-0 with ten minutes gone and Scotland
proceeded to dominate the first half.
South African-born Willem Nel, making his first start at tighthead prop
after qualifying for Scotland on residential grounds, gave Matias Aguero, Italy's
loosehead, a torrid time in the scrums and Russell orchestrated the backs with
The pressure told as Laidlaw landed two further penalties, stretching the
lead to 16-0. Only then did Italy show their attacking teeth, scoring with their
first serious offensive assault in the 30th minute.
Newcastle lock Josh Furno launched a line-out drive in the left corner and
Tommaso Allan, Italy's former Scotland Under-20 flyhalf, despatched a garryowen
that was fumbled by both Laidlaw and Visser, allowing outside centre Michele
Campagnaro to score.
Allan converted, reducing Scotland's lead to 16-7, but in the final minute
of the first half, Italy had openside flank Francesco Minto yellow-carded for
bringing down a maul.
From the forward drive that followed, Barclay squeezed over the line for a
try that Laidlaw converted.
Leading 23-7 at the break, Scotland pressed home their superiority eight
minutes into the second half.
Russell looped a long pass into the left corner and Dutch-born Visser bagged
his eighth international try.
Laidlaw steered his conversion attempt wide but the Gloucester scrum-half
nailed a fourth penalty in the 56th minute and six minutes after that Scotland
were 36-7 ahead, Lamont snaffling a stray pass to score an interception try on
Italy were then reduced to 14 men again, replacement prop Michele Rizzo
being sent to the sin-bin after aiming a kick towards the head of Scotland
substitute prop Gordon Reid in the 69th minute
It got worse for Jacques Brunel's side in the final eight minutes, Visser
and Bennett both running in interception tries from long range.
Scotland complete their warm-up campaign away to France in Paris a week on
Saturday, when Italy face Wales in Cardiff.